BUILDING CONNECTIONS — VIRTUALLY
With the goal to create community despite it being an online program, Leuschner says Rutgers is transitioning to provide more synchronous content that mixes flexibility with the need — and desire — for more engagement.
The Rutgers faculty initially thought the type of student who was attracted to the Rutgers program was more interested in acquiring knowledge and skills rather than engaging in the experiential and networking part of the program. However, over time, they realized that their students were networking amongst themselves anyways.
“Whether they were in the same location or not, they still got to know each other. We’ve made considerable changes in terms of creating opportunities for networking meetings, discussions, and friendships,” Leuschner says.
At Rutgers, the supply chain management program goes through a consistent review process largely thanks to its advisory board of alumni, which Leuschner calls “friends of the program.” They help act as a sounding board for ideas on how to improve the structure of the program. Plus, alumni have been integrated into teaching class material to help with real-world application, such as live case studies where students get practice with developing solutions.
“A dozen or so of our alumni are popping in just to check out what the topic of the week is and network with our current students,” says Leuschner.
Leuschner explains that Rutgers’ Master in Supply Chain Management is geared towards professionals to move up in their careers. “Our program enables supply chain management professionals to become leaders in their organizations.”
While some supply chain management master’s programs are more quantitatively focused or geared towards a specific sub-discipline in the field, Rutgers focuses on leadership and strategic thinking. “We don’t just put classes together at random; each class is related to each other. We don’t have required courses and electives because I believe that a supply chain management professional that would join our program knows what it takes to get them to the next step in their career. We provide one hundred percent free reign of our curriculum and they customize that to however they see fit.”
Leuschner believes that one of the highlights of this program is the flexibility. With the program designed to cater towards the needs of the working professional, he says that an on-campus program wouldn’t be possible for many of their students.
While most programs are nation-wide are being offered online due to the pandemic, this wasn’t always the case. Take Penn State, whose curriculum made it possible for David Avasthi to complete his master’s degree along with becoming a father, getting a new full-time job, relocating from D.C to New Jersey, and earning his CSCP certificate from APICS.
“I found balancing life, work, and school to be a substantial challenge and accomplishment, but it would have been nearly impossible without the online format,” he says.
There are a few ideal candidates for a supply chain management master’s, Leuschner says, specifically for the Rutgers program. First, there are the candidates who studied supply chain in their undergraduate degree and are fully dedicated to advancing in this field. Another is the person who comes from a different area in business who is looking for a career change. Those who are active duty military service members or veterans are also ideal students.
For those who are unsure if a supply chain management master’s degree is right for them, Rutgers also has a live open house for prospective students interested in the program, allowing them to get a taste of the course content and structure. “They can pop into classes, participate, and even do the case studies.”
ADVICE FROM GRADS
Many supply chain management grads have helpful advice for prospective students.
Virtual learning provides advantages and some adjustments according to Niccole Marcial. She stresses the importance for prospective Master’s students to create a sustainable routine for themselves to stay on track. She also advises that they tap into the wealth of knowledge of their professors. “They care whether they see you or not. They really want you to succeed, and they have a ton of real-life knowledge. Tapping into that is what it’s all about. Try to make at least two close connections,” she says.
Like Leuschner, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management’s Mark Reagan believes that passion is paramount to finding success in a supply chain management master’s. He believes it would be hard to maintain motivation without a strong dedication and passion for the supply chain industry. At the same time, Bekuechukwu Uzondu, Howard University School of Business graduate emphasizes that applicants must differentiate themselves from others.
“Show that you are a hard worker who is diligent and humble. Demonstrate not just how you did things, but why,” says Uzondu.
Tom Berdelle, a graduate of Marquette University Graduate School of Management, advises that prospective students focus on what they can contribute to the program, such as strong, positive energy and their own, unique perspective.
“The program is what you make it!” says Berdelle.
Learn more about the educational and career journey about these Master’s in Business Analytics students who are creating impact. Click on the links below.
MEET THE MASTER’S IN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT GRADUATES
|Alumni Member||Master’s In Supply Chain||Current Employer|
|Angela J. Muca||University of Maryland (Robert H. Smith)||Amazon|
|Bekuechukwu Uzondu||Howard University School of Business||Dell Technologies|
|Kyle Meagher||University of Michigan (Ross)||Williams-Sonoma, Inc.|
|Megan Smith||Michigan State University (Broad)||Symbia Logistics|
|Mark Reagan||University of Minnesota (Carlson)||Ecolab|
|David Avasthi||Penn State (Smeal)||Johnson & Johnson|
|Shubham Kishore||University of Pittsburgh (Katz)||Tesla, Inc.|
|Shruti Singhal||Purdue University (Krannert)||MedStar Health|
|Niccole Marcial||Rutgers Business School||Colgate-Palmolive|
|Allegra Campbell||University of Washington (Foster)||Rainier Industries|
|Shengyi (Marshall) Wang||Washington University (Olin)||T-Mobile|
|Tom Berdelle||Marquette University||Weber-Stephen Products LLC|
|Nainika Sudheendra||University of Tennessee Knoxville (Haslam)||Walmart|
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